To my best friend,
I think I don't really care about falling in love myself, 'cause it makes people crazy — all that adrenaline and surge of hormones? But I like watching people fall in love — not just romantic love but love as in friendships or closeness with one's parents. I like watching those relationships develop over time, taking mental snapshots of the sweet moments like they're just as precious to me as they are to the people in it.
Like the way my father yelps at my brother be careful with the knife when he hastily sacrifices a chicken, the way your mom gets a fond, exasperated look on her face when she gives into watching whatever your little sister wants to show her, or the way the girl at the bus stop leans her head against her best friend's shoulder resting against the bench and how her friend doesn't think twice to lift her arm and wrap it around the other's shoulder.
How the professor striding up the stairs bumps into another professor on the way down, and the two recognize each other, grin widely and quickly make plans to meet before hurrying off to class, or the way the blond guy exiting his lab class doesn't care what anyone may think as he launches himself straight into his best friend's arms and whines about three failed trials, and his best friend just ruffles his hair, grips his arm and cheers, "Time for a coffee break!" in a silly voice till the blond lab guy is helplessly smiling wide, eyes crinkling at the corners.
I like how people are thoughtful in the little and big ways, those brief moments that end up meaning a lot — unaware of the affectionate look on their face as they just gaze at their loved ones patiently, half-amused and utterly, blissfully, wonderfully content. Time slows down, and I hold my breath, keeping silent during those soft moments when he pushes a lock of her hair back, when she bursts out laughing hunched over the lunch table, when they jostle each other in the halls waiting for class to start or flash quirked brows halfway across a silent classroom. I stare and drink in the emanating love, because they look quite at ease. Because in that moment, there's no next thing to check off the list and nothing to look around searchingly for. There's no hesitance, self-conscious pause or question kept to oneself — rather it's instinctual, natural and quite lovely.
I watch people live in these moments when I'm alone.
When I'm struggling with a chemistry problem on the computer at the bottom floor of the library and glance up at those around me, or when I'm eating lunch in my car before driving home so I don't fall asleep at the wheel, I observe. I don't feel lonely particularly, I don't compare myself on my own to their pairs and groups of friends clustered close together.
I see something beautiful unfolding.
And I wonder, when my mom makes me pancakes for late Wednesday morning breakfasts, when my dad pokes his head in my room after work to say salam, when my siblings glance up and grin at me whenever they find something funny on their Facebook feed, if that's the moment.
Or the way you and I will sit talking for hours, sneaking out of your house at 8 p.m. for Bruster's with the squad of friends when you finally come home, if that's the expression I'll have on my face as I look at you sitting in the driver's seat, a smile tugging at the corners of your lips when Iram shouts something stupid from the backseat, and there's a moment of silence before we all burst out laughing our heads off at a red light on the road back to your house.
I wonder, if I look up at the rear view mirror, will I finally catch that expression blossoming across my face?